Even sole-traders don’t run their business totally alone. We all have people around us who collaborate in our success (even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes!)

So who are these people around us that we collaborate with? I think they fall into 4 distinct groups.

Our Competitors
Yes, you read that right. Remember from our last blog we talked about knowing your competitors strengths and weaknesses? If you are strong at something they are weak at and vice versa you could have a mutually beneficial partnership. Take two web designers for example, one who is great at the graphics and one who is great at the technical. How powerful and wonderful would it be for the customer if they worked together on projects?

Our Customers
Probably our greatest source of referrals and leads if we do things right. Our customers are living proof of our work. Social proof is so powerful. But they may even turn into closer collaborators than that. We have recently started a joint venture with one of our customers that is proving to be very beneficial for us both.

Our Suppliers
Suppliers are a key part of many businesses. The terms they have with us and our relationship with them can make or break a business in difficult times. But there is more the these relationships than the exchange of goods or services for our cash. A good supplier will help us to achieve our expected level of customer service, maintain a quality product and reflect on our business as a whole.

Our Network
Not just our professional network but our family and friends too will be crucial to our success. Those around us will help to shape our mind-set and experience of success. Networks offer opportunity.